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Sunday, July 27, 2008

7:30 P.M., CAFE DU PARC, DOWNTOWN

Erin: I took a cab to the restaurant and got there right at 7:30. The hostess was like, "Your date isn't here yet." As I was ordering a drink, Tristan walked in.

Tristan: I [thought], "There's a good chance it's that person sitting at the bar by herself." I definitely found her attractive. She has dark, curly hair and these really, really blue eyes. She's quite striking.

Erin: He's cute, very nice-looking. He looks like Topher Grace from "That '70s Show." We sat down, and I asked him the obligatory questions: "Where are you from?" and "What do you do?" He'd gone to UC Santa Barbara, and I grew up in California and my sister just graduated from there, so we talked about that. After about 30 minutes, we ordered appetizers and a bottle of wine.

Tristan: She's very well-spoken and funny, but with none of the pretension you see in a lot of people around here. And we have a lot in common. We're both politically in the same area, both pretty secular. We talked about our jobs a lot.

Erin: I'm not a passive girl that sits there and looks cute. I'm very much in charge of the conversation. Sometimes guys are like, "Whoa, she's intense." But Tristan held his own. I'd say something verging on inappropriate, and he'd have a witty comeback.

Tristan: At one point, I got her to admit to some really embarrassing movie she had just seen. I acted appalled. But I happened to know the movie as well. I was leading her along, teasing her.

Erin: There were moments when I couldn't stop laughing. At one point, I told him I have a fascination with all things miniature. We were sitting next to a sideboard full of miniature condiments -- little pots of ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise -- and he said that he would try to steal them for me. He grabbed a handful and dumped them in my purse.

Tristan: As the conversation went on, it became more flirty. We shared a dessert. We were finished around 11, and she offered to give me a tour of the Capitol.

Erin: I was like, "I work there; we'll totally walk in." So we get in his car and drive to the Capitol. And they said, "You can't go in." I felt really stupid. But then we went outside and took pictures. It was kind of romantic. The fountains were on, and nobody else was around. It was like sneaking out of summer camp.

Tristan: There was definitely a lot of chemistry at this point. I had my arm around her, and she had her arm around me. At about 11:45, we walked back to her car and hung out [there] for a few minutes.

Erin: I would say that we ended things well. A true lady never reveals [the details].

Tristan: I'm going to give the date a 4.75 [out of 5]. I felt like I had a connection with [her], which caught me off guard. This is someone that I'm pretty sure that I'm going to see again.

Erin: I'll give it a 4.4. There's a story behind that: He said we should rate each other the same, so I said, "I'll give it a five." He said, "Okay, I'll give you a 4.5." I was offended. So at the very end of the date he said, "This was definitely a 5," and I was like, "Well, you'll have to read what I give you."

Interviews by Christina Breda Antoniades

UPDATE: Within a week, Erin and Tristan went out for a second date. Tristan says, "I suspect we'll probably see each other again." (The restaurant, meanwhile, is unperturbed about the tiny-ketchup snatching. "They're condiments," a manager said, laughing.)

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